Of Fools and Folly

How much you wanna bet that the only reason Jonathan Martin and Ben Smith cobbled together this rickety structure of baseless speculation about Obama and the potential (yes, potential) scandal that might (yes, might) arise (passive voice!) for the President-elect and certain members of his team, following yesterday’s dramatic arrest of Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, was to frame the following paragraph:

One prominent Chicago Democrat close to many of those named in the indictment suggested the risk for Obama is “Whitewater-type exposure.” That was a reference to an Arkansas real estate deal that produced a series lengthy and highly intrusive investigations in the 1990s that never proved illegality by the Clintons.

Apparently The Politico brain trust is still stuck in 1992. Not surprising, considering that throughout the ’90s Politico editor-in-chief John F. Harris and his then-colleagues at the Washington Post reported extensively on many now-infamous media-and-Republican-manufactured Clinton-era scandals that would not fucking die. Eric Boehlert, critiquing a 2006 book written by Harris and ABC News Political Director Mark Halperin, puts “Whitewater-type exposure” in proper context:

The duo devotes an entire chapter detailing Clinton’s often troubled first term in office, yet the phrase “Whitewater” never appears in print there. Keep in mind that reproducing The Washington Post’s library of breathless Whitewater stories printed during Clinton’s first term would likely fill three volumes the size of The Way to Win, while ABC’s Whitewater archives could fill a weekend of around-the-clock coverage. But for Halperin and Harris, the story, and the media’s absolutely central role in keeping alive a Republican-generated hoax about a long-ago real estate deal, goes down the memory hole.

The old proverb about dogs and vomit comes to mind.

Update: More from Steve Benen, who looks at AP’s latest “wildly irresponsible” example of “cutting through the clutter”  by not relying on such hoary journalistic conventions as “facts” or “evidence” to support ones assertions.

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